Sunday, December 02, 2007

Rose Bowl!

The 9-3 Fighting Illini football team are the fortunate beneficiaries of the BCS turmoil this season, and will be headed to the Rose Bowl game on New Year's Day. There, they will face those pesky Trojans of USC (boo...hiss...).

My major complaint about the BCS selections this year is the absence of Mizzou (it's a friendly rivarly...for me at least). The Tigers beat two teams who will be playing in BCS bowl games (Illinois and Kansas) and their only two losses were to another BCS-bound team (Oklahoma). They should be playing in the Orange Bowl instead of Kansas.

Green building comes to Missouri.

On my way to my buddy's house for the annual Army-Navy football game yesterday, I drove by a housing development with a sign which claimed that it was the first "GREEN" development in Missouri. Being the tree-hugger that I've turned into, I had to stop by the sales office on my way home after the game. I picked up some information about the place, and it seems pretty nice. Obviously, I'm all about the sustainable and energy-efficient aspects of the development. The cons are that they are only multi-unit buildings (4 and 12) and that it's out in St. Peters/O'Fallon. It's definitely worth checking out if you're looking to move out into those parts: Highland Park.

There's also a "green" high-rise condo development being built in downtown St. Louis called Roberts Tower. This place looks pretty cool as well.

Considering that I've
only been in my new house for about half a year, don't expect me to move out into one of these places any time soon. However, it's definitely nice to see that environmentally friendly developments are sprouting up in the area.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

This week's fortune.

You will receive unexpected support over the next week. Accept it graciously.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Test the speed of your Internet connection.

While there are many sites that offer this service, my favorite has to be They have a great user interface which allows you to perform the test using one of a multitude of servers around the world (the default is the closest to your geographic location). They also maintain a history of all your tests so you can go back and look at past results. You can also get statistics for internet connections all over the world. Pretty neat if you're a huge Internet nerd like I am.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Maybe I'm a grinch.

Isn't it a little early to have Christmas lights up? After all, November just started today. I saw two separate display of lights on the drive home today. Perhaps in this commercial society that we live in it is appropriate to start the holiday season as soon as we can get away with it. I guess most Christians don't even celebrate the true meaning of Christmas anyway.

Monday, October 29, 2007

In need of MP3 advice.

I have a $50 gift certificate that I could use at a bunch of places, including, Best Buy, and Circuit City.

I want a new MP3 player with the following features:
  1. Color display
  2. Video playback
  3. Good, if not spectacular, battery life
  4. At least 30 GB of storage
  5. Black case
I've narrowed my choices down to the following, in order of preference (prices are shown before gift certificate deduction):
  1. Creative Zen Vision:M - 30 GB
    • $289 @ Amazon
  2. Microsoft Zune (2nd generation) - 80 GB
    • ~$250 @ Amazon or Best Buy or Circuit City
  3. Microsoft Zune (1st generation) - 30 GB
    • $140 @ Amazon
  4. Apple iPod Classic (5th generation) - 80 GB
    • ~$250 @ Best Buy or Circuit City
If you have a glowing recommendation or just some simple advice, please feel free to share.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Although slowly, the wheels of justice do turn.

Updating a previous posting, our boy Genarlow Wilson has been freed. Wright Thompson, author of the original E-ticket article that caught my attention, weighs in on it here. Good luck in the future, young man, and may your decisions be made with more care.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

This week's fortune.

When the flowers bloom, so will great joy in your life.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

This week's fortune.

Tomorrow is a good day for trying something new.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Here's a good idea...

Kiva allows "ordinary" people to help make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate around the world. Through them, you can loan money with minimal interest to entrepreneurs in developing countries. Yes, loan...not donate. The idea is that this isn't just a free handout, but a way to provide people some help through opportunities that may not ordinarily be afforded them. You can find out more by checking out their website:

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

This week's fortune.

Someone thinks you are wonderfully mysterious.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

New Radiohead in 10 days!!!

The new album, In Rainbows, will be released on October 10. Interestingly, it is initially only available for download from their website:

Even more interestingly, YOU decide how much to pay for the download (WTF?!?!), excluding a potential 90 cent surcharge. Of course if you're a fanboy like me, you'll skip that option and buy the discbox (which includes, in addition to the aforementioned download, a CD of the album, an extra CD of new music, vinyl copies of both CDs, a booklet of lyrics, and some artwork) for $80 because it makes absolutely no sense.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

This week's fortune.

When in doubt, let your instincts guide you.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

This week's fortune.

A pleasant surprise is in store for you soon.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

This week's fortunes.

(another lucky double-fortune cookie)

You will receive unexpected support over the next week. Accept it graciously.

You have a charming way with words. Write a letter this week.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

This week's fortunes.

(courtesy of the lucky double-fortune cookie)

You will soon receive an usua
l [sic] gift freely given. Accept!

You should enhance your feminine side at this time.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Vegetarian Week recap.

I did it! A week without meat. And I don't even have the shakes, either. I feel like this is something I could do for longer, though I don't really have a desire to. After this past week, I have realized that the reasons I couldn't make vegetarianism permanent are twofold:
  1. I'd be missing out on too many appetizing dishes. There are a plethora of perfectly good meals with meat out there that are just screaming my name, beckoning me to consume them. I can't let their calls go unanswered, can I?
  2. It's sometimes hard (though not as hard as I thought) to find a substantial meal that does not have meat in it. I think this is mostly a product of the society that we live in, though. You can't go to a fast-food joint and expect to find something good without meat...usually the best you can hope for is that they can prepare something without the meat, which is a significant portion of the meal. It's definitely easier at sit-down restaurants or when you do your own grocery shopping, though.
I would like to thank and congratulate my fellow temporary vegetarian Tom Musick for his support and inspiration. Without him this experiment would never have been conceived, much less successful.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Vegetarian Week

For the next week, I will (attempt to) be a vegetarian.

Tommy Musick and I were inspired by the lack of meat at our friend Nishant's wedding a couple of weeks ago, and vowed to have a vegetarian week in the near future. The future is now.

From 0:00 on 4 August 2007 to 24:00 on 10 August 2007 we are not allowed to eat meat. I assume we don't have to go completely vegan or anything, though. My personal goal is to last at least 2 days. We'll see how that goes...

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

This week's fortune.

Linger over dinner discussions this week for needed advice.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

This week's fortune.

Listen these next few days to your friends to get answers you seek.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

This week's fortune.

You will always be surrounded by true friends.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

This week's fortune.

You tend to be contemplative and analytical by nature.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

7 West moved to 7 East?!

Vanessa and I dropped by St. Louis Children's Hospital last night to pay my mom, who is a nurse there, a surprise visit. When we finally found her floor, we were greeted by a sign which said "7 West has moved to 7 East." My mom works in 7 West. We thought this was so hilarious that we took a picture of it with my phone. The picture didn't turn out all that great because my phone doesn't have a very good camera, but you get the idea. Funny sign + surprising and hugging momma + ice cream = BEST ADVENTURE EVER.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

This week's fortune.

Good things come in invisible packages. You will be delighted.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Happy Earth Day!

I celebrated by buying a bunch of compact fluorescent bulbs from The Home Depot, in addition to getting one for free. OK, so maybe I actually forgot that it was Earth Day until I got in the store and got my free bulb...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

28 seconds too slow.

This past Saturday, I fell short of my goal to run the Spirit of St. Louis 5K in under 25 minutes. However, I did post a time that was good enough for 60th place overall. Check out the full results here.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Technology for the good of mankind.

CNET is running a series on technologists who are helping the the world's poor people. One of their stories is about a guy who is involved in the One Laptop Per Child project, which is something in which I have been interested for a while. You can read their story at this link. Another interesting note is that the first deployment of these laptops is in Nigeria.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

This week's fortune.

Good things come in invisible packages. You will be delighted.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

This week's fortune.

Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself.

Editor's note: I try to live by this principle.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

This week's fortune.

You have the ability to channel your energies into constructive activities.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Crib update.

Illinois athletes are emulating the Cincinnati Bengals.

This is probably not a good thing. Two football players have joined their basketball counterparts in a competition to determine who can get in the most trouble with the law. Read the story here.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

A couple of tidbits.

I just returned from a snowboarding trip to Cascade Mountain in Wisconsin. I had a lot of fun and didn't injure anything. I can't quite say the same for our bus, though, which was hit head-on by a car which skidded out of control. Thankfully, nobody was hurt.

Also, I am apparently giving up soda for Lent, as decided by one Greg Wilcox. Don't worry...I'm not turning religious anytime soon.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Friday, February 16, 2007

U of I has lost the fiscal support of one alumnus.

I have always maintained that the day University of Illinois gets rid of Chief Illiniwek is the day that I stop donating money to them. Well, that day has come. I'm sure they will not miss my annual gift of $50 ($100 after Boeing match). At least they kept the Fighting Illini name. Go here for more information.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

My newest toy.

Despite my previous musings, I didn't get the Black Carbon or the iPhone. Instead, I purchased an NEC N908, which could almost be the offspring of the other two. You can check out CNET's review of the phone here.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

This week's fortune.

Others are attracted to your endearing warmth.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

This week's fortune.

You are compassionate and understanding.

Monday, January 29, 2007

$100 for doing almost nothing.

Well, not exactly.

Remember when my luggage was lost in Italy? If not, see here. Well, I faxed in a claim to cover expenses incurred by not having my luggage for a few days to Alitalia when I returned home. When they sent me a letter asking for more information, I gave up the cause, as I either had not kept or did not get receipts from those I was too lazy to be bothered with filling out all the paperwork.

Anyway, they sent me a letter today saying that they're going to send me a check for $100. I never expected to see any money from them, as I thought there was no further action regarding my claim...especially since it's been a few months. Assuming I actually receive the check, THREE CHEERS FOR ALITALIA!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Fitness update.

I've long espoused the belief that the age of 25 years is when an athlete, or a man in general, is at his prime. As that is my current age, I feel that it's time for me to get in the best shape of my life...or at least since high school wrestling.

To that end, I began training for the Spirit of St. Louis 5K run in April last week. I guess a few months of playing soccer once or twice a week has gotten me on the right path, as it seems to be going fairly well so far. I ran a 7:05 mile a couple of days ago, which is faster than I can ever remember running a timed mile (but still over a minute above one of my life goals). The race is still over 10 weeks away, so I'm thinking about upgrading my target from sub-29:00 to sub-25:00. This would take some work, as it would shatter my personal best by over 4 minutes, but I still have plenty of time to prepare. Hopefully I don't burn out.

I've also seemed to have lost some weight, as I weighed in under 160 pounds earlier tonight. To be fair, this was after a soccer game followed by a 1.5 mile run, and before I ate dinner. However, it would still seem that I'm somewhere around 165, which is a weight I haven't seen in a while. This isn't too surprising considering I haven't lifted weights (I gain the most weight while I'm lifting) in almost 1.5 years. Too bad this also means that my once-threatening guns are fairly puny these days.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A grave injustince.

I often argue that people who get in trouble with the law must at least partly blame themselves for being in the situation. While I think this is probably true in this case, I still think that Genarlow Wilson has suffered a grave injustice. You can read more about his story here.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

You may now call me Master Kenobe.

Earlier today I picked up a diploma which certifies that I earned a Masters degree in Computer Science. So I guess it's official now.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

This week's fortune.

Ask advice from everyone, but act with your own mind.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Things I missed most about this last power outage.

  1. Warmth
  2. The Internet
  3. DVD player
  4. Light

Things I did NOT miss after the storm and aftermath was over...falling trees. Our electricity was out over 3 days, but at least half of that was due to the fact that one of our neighbor's trees fell on the power lines (the folks across the street had power restored a couple of days before our side did). Another tree fell onto our driveway, causing a little damage to the front edge of our roof, and missing Tina by millimeters.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Revamped music page...sort of...

I removed the Song of the Week sections, which I have neglected for a while, and added some charts from which should update automatically as I listen to music. Check out the new page here.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Which phone?

I am in the market for a new cell phone to replace my antiquated little egg. I was pretty sure that I was going to get the Samsung SGH D900, a.k.a Black Carbon. That is, until Apple rocked my world, and the rest of the cell phone industry, with the iPhone. I'm pretty sure it's the best thing since sliced bread. So my quandary is: do I get the Black Carbon now, or wait until June for the iPhone? If you scroll down (unfortunately, my template is too narrow and changing its size messes up some previous Blogger doesn't do the best job of HTML generation), you can see a head-to-head comparison of the two:

CategoryBlack CarboniPhoneWinner
Cool factoriPhone
Cellular NetworksQuad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz), EDGEQuad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz), EDGEPush
Other ConnectivityBluetoothWi-Fi (802.11b/g), Bluetooth 2.0, USBiPhone
Display2.1 in 240x320, 262K color TFT3.5 in 320x480, 160 ppiiPhone
Camera3.0 megapixels2.0 megapixelsBlack Carbon
Music playbackAAC, MP3AAC, MP3, Audible, Apple LosslessPush
Video playback?H.264, MPEG-4iPhone
Input9 dedicated buttons, 2 soft buttons, flat number pad1 hard button, touch screeniPhone
Other featuresStandard cell phone fare + document viewer, TV outOS XiPhone
Battery life6.5 hrs talk5 hrs talk/video/browsing, 16 hrs audio playbackBlack Carbon
Size, weight4.1 x 2.0 x 0.51 in/106 x 51 x 12.9 mm, 3.3 oz/85 g4.5 x 2.4 x 0.46 in/115 x 61 x 11.6 mm, 4.8 oz/135 gBlack Carbon
Storage60 MB internal, microSD4 GB or 8 GB internaliPhone
Price$400 (phone) + $75 (2 GB microSD card) = $475 $499 (4 GB) or $599 (8 GB)Push
AvailabilityNowJune 2007Black Carbon

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Let me preface this by saying that I like Rex Grossman...

...but this picture is HILLARIOUS!

Thanks to Tommy Musick for forwarding that to me.

Proof that Christmas is actually Halloween.

Being the ├╝bernerd that I am, I found the following proof which I saw on a board at work humorous. The crux of the proof is that 25 in decimal numerals is equal to 31 in octal numerals (see the Wikipedia article on octals if you don't understand this). Since DEC(25) = OCT(31), one could argue that December 25 is October 31. Therefore, Christmas is Halloween.

This week's fortune.

Your enthusiasm inspires people.

Saturday, January 06, 2007